Perry Malik (left) takes on Jared Carter (right) at the British Nationals.

Qualifying RD1 Roundup: Malik Brothers Set up Main Draw Play-Off

The opening round of qualifying at the 2023 British National Squash Championships saw brothers Perry and Heston Malik advance to the final round of qualifying where they will face off for a coveted place in the main draw at St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club.

Perry, appearing at the British Nationals for the second time in his career, achieved a comfortable 11-5, 11-1, 11-8 victory over fellow Englishman Jared Carter in Weybridge and the World No.100 will now look to improve on last year’s challenge, which ended in the final round of qualifying.

“I played him [Jared Carter] a lot in juniors and I only ended up beating him once in my whole junior career, so to get the 3-0 win was really good,” said Perry.

“Heston was playing at the same time as me and he won 3-1, so he did very well. My dad was kind of switching between the two, so he was coaching me and watching Heston and coaching him in between games as well. 

“I’ll make sure I recover well, I’m actually playing my brother Heston in the next round, so that will be interesting. I’ll get some decent lunch in and recover for my match at six. 

“It will be a very friendly match. We train together all the time, we are very close, so I’m looking forward to it.”

17-year-old Heston – who is five years Perry’s junior – got the better of Northern Irishman Stephen Hearst in an impressive 11-5, 11-1, 11-8 victory. It’s Heston’s first appearance at a  British Nationals, but the World No.379 recovered from a tight second-game defeat to complete the win in four.

The other Malik sibling in action today, Bailey, fell to Welshman Emyr Evans in straight games.

Meanwhile, World No.426 Matt Gregory scored an upset win over World No.277 Nathan Mead, winning a gripping five-game contest after 55 minutes of action. 

Gregory, appearing at his maiden British Nationals, showed some nice touches throughout, particularly on the backhand volley, and he will now aim to secure his place in the main draw when he plays compatriot Jordan Warne, whose match with Archie Turnbull was cut short due to the Welshman sustaining an ankle injury.

“It was all mental toughness at the end,” said Gregory. 

Matt Gregory (right) takes on Nathan Mead during the British Nationals.
Matt Gregory (right) takes on Nathan Mead during the British Nationals.

“Of course, it is always going to hurt physically against guys like that. He’s a fit lad, the perfect build for squash – so I just had to be as mentally strong as I could and just battle through. 

“There were times in the fifth where my mind started to wander, but as soon as I blocked those thoughts out and got my line back, I felt really good. I always try to have a more extravagant kind of game, I like my game being fun, but I need to sometimes cut that out and go back to basics.

“I’m going to stretch out, roll out and eat as much as I can. I’ll try and call my coach back home and prepare as best as I can for another tough match.”

The final match of the afternoon pitted World No.153 Miles Jenkins up against Ruudi Clarke. Both players coach at St George’s Hill, meaning a packed house was in attendance to watch Jenkins secure a 3-0 win.

Speaking after the match, Jenkins said: “The crowd was big, I think it’s the biggest I’ve seen it for qualifying, so I think it shows they’re very supportive of both myself and Ruudi. It was a nice homely atmosphere, the crowd were great, so I really enjoyed it. 

Miles Jenkins (right) takes on Ruudie Clarke (left) during the British Nationals.
Miles Jenkins (right) takes on Ruudi Clarke (left) during the British Nationals.

“I think it was pretty key to get through in three, but probably not a fair reflection of how hard the match was. There were some tough long rallies and Ruudi is a true competitor, so I enjoyed the battle.”

“I’ve got to cool down, get my fluids back in and try to get in a good-sized meal. I’ll try and have a little rest, try and take myself away from the venue for a little bit and come back ready for the next match.”

He will play Jack Mitterer in the final match of the day, with Mitterer dispatching Yuk Hei Lee.

World No.289 Paul Broadberry was the other victor in the opening round of qualifying, beating 15-year-old Indie Flint in straight games, despite a close first game which saw him prevail on a tie-break.

“I found it quite difficult to deal with Indie because I haven’t played him before, so it was quite a new experience to have a hit with him on the glass. I was just trying to find my range on the glass court,” said Broadberry.

Paul Broadberry (left) takes on Indie Flint during the British Nationals.
Paul Broadberry (left) takes on Indie Flint during the British Nationals.

“I found that my length wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be, but hopefully it improves in the later rounds.”

The final qualifying round of the British Nationals will take place at 18:00 (GMT+1) today. Action from the glass court will be shown live on SQUASHTV, while matches from court one will be shown live on the Nationals website.

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Results – Qualifying Round One: 2023 British National Squash Championships

Perry Malik (ENG) bt Jared Carter (ENG) 3-0: 11-5, 11-1, 11-8 (27m)

Paul Broadberry (ENG) bt Indie Flint (ENG) 3-0: 12-10, 11-5, 11-9 (26m)

Jordan Warne (ENG) bt Archie Turnbull (WAL) 3-0: 5-3 retired (9m)

Matt Gregory (ENG) bt Nathan Mead (IOM) 3-2: 11-5, 3-11, 11-7, 5-11, 12-10 (55m)

Miles Jenkins (ENG) bt Ruudi Clarke (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-8 (39m)

Heston Malik (ENG) bt Stephen Hearst (NIR) 3-1: 11-1, 10-12, 11-5, 11-4 (30m)

Emyr Evans (WAL) bt Bailey Malik (ENG) 3-0: 11-2, 11-7, 11-5 (26m)

Jack Mitterer (ENG) bt Yuk Hei Lee (ENG) 3-0: 11-3, 11-1, 11-3 (17m)

Schedule – Final Qualifying Round

(All times are local GMT+1)

Glass Court

18:00 Kiera Marshall (ENG) v Lowri Roberts (WAL) – Women

18:45 Emyr Evans (WAL) v Paul Broadberry (ENG) – Men

19:30 Alison Thomson (SCO) v Chloe Foster (WAL) – Women

20:15 Miles Jenkins (ENG) v Jack Mitterer (ENG) – Men

Court One

18:00 Perry Malik (ENG) v Heston Malik (ENG) – Men

18:45 Asia Harris (ENG) v Katie Wells (ENG) – Women

19:30 Jordan Warne (ENG) v Matt Gregory (ENG) – Men

20:15 Saran Nghiem (ENG) v Isabel McCullough (ENG) – Women